SNAP Resources - Help For the Hungry

By: Francesca Fiori

The United States is known as the largest economy in the world with an estimated $15.087 trillion in annual gross domestic product for the year ending 2011. When people think about hunger and food insecurity, they usually think of countries like Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so on. Yet, it’s true that hunger is becoming a growing problem in the United States, a country with the most advanced technology. Food insecurity is described as a situation where people are not sure when they will have their next meal and Feeding America forecasts that more than one sixth of American children live in this condition. In a separate report, the USDA estimates that there are some 16.2 million children under 18 who are deprived of adequate and nutritious amounts of food required for a healthy life.


Poverty (2009)

  • 14.3 percent (43.6 million) of Americans lived in poverty.
  • 11.1 percent (8.8 million) of American families lived in poverty.
  • 12.9 percent (24.7 million) of Americans aged 18-64 lived in poverty.
  • 20.7 percent (15.5 million) American children under 18 lived in poverty.
  • 8.9 percent (3.4 million) American seniors aged 65 and older lived in poverty.

Food Insecurity (2010)

  • A total of 48.8 million people in America were living in a household with food insecurity, comprising of 16.2 million children and 32.6 million adults.
  • 17.2 million (14.5 percent) of American households were suffering from food insecurity.
  • 6.4 million (5.4 percent) of American households suffered from severe food insecurity.
  • Food insecurity was reported in 20.2 percent of households with children against 11.7 percent for households with no children.
  • Food insecurity is higher than national average in households with children headed by single mother, Hispanic households, households with children headed by single father, and Black non-Hispanic households.
  • 925,000 households (8 percent) with seniors living alone suffered from food insecurity in 2009.
  • Every county in the United States has food insecurity problems with the highest in Wilcox County, Alabama at 38 percent and the lowest in Steele County, North Dakota at 5 percent.

From 2008 to 2010, these states recorded household food insecurity rates that are higher than the US national average.

  • United States 14.6 percent
  • Mississippi 19.4 percent
  • Texas 18.8 percent
  • Arkansas 18.6 percent
  • Alabama 17.3 percent
  • Georgia 16.9 percent
  • Ohio 16.4 percent
  • Florida 16.1 percent
  • California 15.9 percent
  • North Carolina 15.7 percent

Federal Food Assistance & Emergency Food Assistance Programs (2010)

  • 5.6 million American households (4.8 percent) took emergency food at food pantries at least once.
  • 59.2 percent of households with food insecurity tool part in one or more of these programs – Special Supplementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, The National School Lunch Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • In a year, food assistance is provided by Feeding America to some 37 million people with low incomes. In Hunger in America 2010, the number was 25 million so there’s an increase of 46 percent.
  • Since 2006, members of Feeding America had reported an increase in the number of people who access emergency food programs at their sites.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal aid program that provides financial assistance to low-income families and people who are residing in the United States for the purpose of purchasing food. Previously known as the Food Stamp Program (FSP), it’s administered by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. On May 16, 1939, the idea for first Food Stamp Program was instigated by Milo Perkins, the first FSP Administrator, Henry Wallace, the US Secretary of Agriculture, among others. In the spring of 1943, the program came to end after benefiting about 20 million people across almost half of America’s counties. From 1961 to 1964, the Pilot FSP was initiated after John F. Kennedy was elected President. It helped 380,000 people across 22 states. On January 21, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson advocated for a permanent FSP, and the result was the Food Stamp Act of 1964. By October 1974, participation reached 15 million when the FSP was implemented nationwide. In 2008, the FSP came to be known as SNAP. According to statistics, more than 46 million Americans were participants in SNAP as of October 2011, and the total amount of food stamps distributed in 2010 was $65 billion.

State Resources

Other Resources

  • Feeding America: The organization is dedicated to fighting hunger in the US.
  • SNAP: The official site by USDA.
  • Getting SNAP: Use this calculator to find out about SNAP eligibility.
  • Food Assistance Programs: A list of links to programs like Nutrition Assistance Programs, Team Nutrition, School Programs, and more.
  • Food Stamps: An overview of SNAP and food stamp programs.
  • Food Bank NYC: Offers information on programs, events, campaigns, and more.
  • Oregon Food Bank: The organization is dedicated to ending hunger in the state.
  • World Food Day USA: Presents information on events, galleries, resources, and more.
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